FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn on Thursday vowed to help improve broadband data collection as the agency prepares to spend billions to improve coverage across rural areas and in other underserved communities.
“I make that promise to you today,” Clyburn said during her keynote address at the Competitive Carriers Association’s Mobile Carriers Show in Las Vegas.
The FCC last year approved Mobility Fund Phase II and allocated $4.53 billion to the program over a 10-year window. Although the CCA supported the additional funding to build networks in underserved areas, the group voiced concerns about the data that would be used to award those dollars.
CCA President and CEO Steve Berry, in his keynote remarks this morning, criticized the map of eligible coverage areas for the Phase II auction and suggested that the program’s challenge process might not be enough to overcome its problems.
Clyburn recognized his concerns this morning but called the “industry consensus” data proposal a “watershed decision” to help address a lack of information that could ultimately delay deployment of crucial services.
“And until the commission holds the Mobility Fund auction, I will remain vigilant of claims of inaccurate data,” Clyburn said.
Clyburn also called on the group and other industry stakeholders to help address proposed changes to the Lifeline program—particularly the potential limits on the subsidies available to low-income participants.
“If that proposed rule and others go into effect, they would have a devastating impact on millions who rely on wireless resellers,” Clyburn said.
She praised industry leaders for already voicing concerns about the Lifeline proposal, and said that when industry and regulators work together, consumers and companies alike stand to benefit.
Clyburn cited interoperability in 700 MHz spectrum a key example, and she also mentioned spectrum auction aggregation limits and careful license transfer reviews as ways to ensure smaller carriers have “a fair shot at competing with your larger counterparts.”
“Industry consensus will be vital to ensuring all communities have access to mobile broadband services, and at the end of the day, that is what we all want,” Clyburn said.
Filed Under: Industry regulations